IRS News Release  
March 24, 1993

IRS Forecasts April Blizzard of Tax Returns

WASHINGTON - Another blizzard of '93 may be in the making. A record low number of early returns combined with the quickly approaching April 15 deadline may produce a blizzard of last-minute filings -- perhaps as many as 40 million in a two-week period -- at Internal Revenue Service centers. The IRS has some simple advice for taxpayers who haven't filed -- don't wait.

If you have a refund coming, filing now means that you can avoid the April rush. Early filers often receive their money in about four weeks, but the wait will lengthen over the next several weeks. The IRS also notes that returns filed close to the deadline often have more mistakes -- likely the result of the haste of last minute filing -- that can delay refunds. Even with the increased volume of returns, the IRS expects to process all refunds by the end of May.

If you owe taxes you may also want to file soon, especially if you can't pay the full amount. You can now ask the IRS for an installment plan when you file. Just attach Form 9465 -- or a note -- to the front of your tax return, explaining how much you propose to pay each month. The IRS will reply within 30 days. The sooner you start your installment payments, the less you'll pay in interest and penalties, which now total 13 percent a year.

If you did not have enough tax withheld last year, you should also act now to avoid this problem next year. Get a 1993 Form W-4 from your employer or the IRS and use it to find the proper number of withholding allowances for your situation.

Even taxpayers needing extra time to do their returns are taking action now. About 17,000 automatic extension requests have already come in, compared to 10,000 at this point last year. The IRS expects a little over 5 million filing extensions this year, about the same as the last few years.

You can get an extra four months -- until August 15 -- to file your return by sending Form 4868 to the IRS by April.. 15. This filing extension does not give you more time to pay your taxes owed. You must estimate your total tax and pay any balance due with the Form 4868 or the IRS will not grant the extension.

As of March 19, the IRS had received 52.5 million returns, 8.3 percent fewer than this time last year. This continues a sluggish filing pace that has produced the fewest returns for this period in the past five years. The IRS expects to receive 117 million individual income tax returns this year.

This year's slower pace may be due to taxpayers finding smaller refunds -- or even unexpected balances due, a result of last March's automatic withholding rate adjustments. Most employees had bigger paychecks in 1992 because less tax was taken out during the year. There was no change in the final tax paid, but for some taxpayers, the reduced rate have meant smaller refunds or even balances due.

This month, the average refund has also lagged behind last year's. Last weeks average refund of $888 was 2.4 percent below the average for the third week of March 1992. The average for all refunds this year is $986, just $6 over the average for the same period last year.

If you need federal tax forms or publications, you should also act soon to get them in time to beat the deadline. Call the IRS toll-free number -- 1-800-TAX-FORM -- before April, or check your local bank, post office or library for available forms.

                     1993 FILING SEASON STATISTICS

       Cumulative through the week ending 3/30/92 and 3/19/93

                      1992              1993            % Change

Individual Income Tax Returns:

Total Receipts        57,284,000        52,512,000      -8.3
Total Processed       47,525,000        43,520,000      -8.4

Filing Alternatives -- Total Receipts:

Electronic Filing      9,559,000        10,712,000       12.1
1040PC Format            716,000         2,068,000      188.9
TeleFile                 115,000           131,000       13.9

Refunds Certified by the Martinsburg Computing Center:

Number                36,341,000        33,649,000       -7.4
Amount of Principal   $35.618 billion   $42.751 billion  -6.8
Average Refund          $980              $986           -0.6

    (NOTE: these amounts should NOT be compared to the "processed"
    numbers above, since those figures reflect Service Center
    processing, which is completed at least a week before refunds
    are certified at the Computing Center)

Taxpayer Service Filing Season Statistics

                      through 4/2/92         through 4/3/93

Toll-free phone
 calls answered       12,201,443              12,152,942

Tele-Tax calls        20,060,011              17,763,906
   Technical tapes     3,030,018               3,082,777
   Refund Info.       17,029,993              14,681,129

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